Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Artist Statement~ “Arrival of the Train”


The installation is designed to accommodate 50 still images arranged in a quasi-elliptical loop in the Augmented Reality Lab at York University.

To capture the arrival of the Metro Train, we shot multiple takes using the 9 frames per second still-burst option, totaling 420 pictures.

We have discovered that 2 frames per second is enough to intelligibly communicate 30 seconds of the full movement of the Train and the passengers exiting it.

The viewer / participant will walk through the images, his / her movement will be in direct relationship with the movement of the image. If done correctly the individual frames will blend into a moving image in the mind of the viewer / animator.


Our goal was to examine the relationship between the viewer and the moving image. Normally physical interaction is only possible with what actually exist.

We wanted to see if the barrier, which physically separates the fictional and real world, could somehow be bridged.

There are no moving pictures only still images; this is why the viewer’s active participation is key, as the installation does not function in its absence. Like all movies, it seizes to exist without an audience. It is the viewer who creates the Movie, whether she walks backward or forward, slow or fast, her “movie-going” experience depends on her. The Movie is created in her mind while she walks through the still frames, but it does not exist anywhere else.

The Installation allows for a very personal, intimate way of experiencing Cinema, not unlike the Mutoscope, or Edison’s Kinetoscope, which depended on a series of mechanically flipped photographs of provocatively dressed young women, and provided viewing to one person at a time.

During the original “Arrival of the Train” viewers jumped from their seats in fear as the train hurdled toward the screen. Later audiences learned to know the moving images on the screen as shadows of reality, ghosts of the world outside the dark rooms of the theatre. Yet we still suspend our disbelief as we experience movies. We dream as we watch the drama and our emotions, triggered by the flickering ghosts of cinema, are as real as Geraldo Rivera’s impressive moustache.

Why is it that film is able to generate real physical reaction when we are no longer confusing the train on screen with a train in the room? The overwhelming tsunami of images today may have desensitized us, photo realistic CG effects have made us question what is and what isn’t real on the screen, but our ability to lose ourselves in Cinema’s fictional world remains intact.

Though lacking in naked lady ankles, our Installation is thought provoking experiment, which seeks to re-examine our relationship to the Moving Image.

-David, Mehran, Tara, Ferdinando

Wed, April 4 2012 » futurecinema2_2012